South Africa 5.9.2018 02:59 pm

Workers raised safety issues with building before it caught alight

The burning Gauteng Health and Human Settlement building. Image:  Neil McCartney

The burning Gauteng Health and Human Settlement building. Image: Neil McCartney

A firefighter slipped and died while trying to put the fire out on Wednesday morning.

Workers from the Gauteng provincial department of health offices that caught alight on Wednesday morning said they have been complaining about poor conditions at the building.

Percy Makholwa who works at the Gauteng department of human settlements said staff had been raising issues with the department about the safety of the building, but so far nothing had been done.

“They kept on telling us that the building is safe… We are asking the Gauteng government to take the lives of their employees seriously and respect our dignity,” said Makholwa.

He recalled how after they left the building they saw a person falling from the top floor of the 23-storey building to his death on the pavement. It was a firefighter who had slipped while trying to put the fire out.

A helicopter had been brought in to evacuate other firemen from the building.

Member of the mayoral committee for public safety in the city of Johannesburg, Micheal Sun, said six firefighters were still trapped inside the burning building.

The fire appears to have been contained.

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